Man Bites Dog 1992


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(36) IMDb 7.7/10

Benoit Poelvoorde's film swings from the hysterical to the horrific and caused a storm when it was released in the cinema because of its disturbing violence. Multiple killer Ben Patard shows off his skills to documentary maker Remy Belvaux and his team. The filmmakers gradually fall under Ben's spell and become entirely caught up in the brutal facts of his life, changing from voyeurs to accomplices.

Remy Belvaux, Jacqueline Poelvoorde Pappaert
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Product Details

  • Feature ages_18_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 32 minutes
Starring Remy Belvaux, Jacqueline Poelvoorde Pappaert, Andre Bonzel, Jenny Drye, Benoit Poelvoorde, Malou Madou
Director Remy Belvaux, Andre Bonzel, Benoit Poelvoorde
Genres Comedy
Rental release 9 October 2000
Main languages French
Subtitles English
Original title C'est arrivé près de chez vous

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4.1 out of 5 stars
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Budge Burgess on 8 May 2005
Format: DVD
Anyone asked to name a classic of Belgian cinema can simply point to this film, a production all the more remarkable for its bargain basement provenance. Made by three film students with a budget which makes shoestrings look like a luxury, "Man Bites Dog" ("C'est arrivé près de chez vous") is proof that making a memorable movie depends more on talent and a good story than on vast amounts of capital and an over-indulgence in special effects.
Three young film makers follow the exploits of Benoit, a mass murderer and petty criminal, and document his philosophy of life and pride in the professionalism of his work. Benoit murders people, quite instrumentally, to obtain money. Or because they get in the way. He's not a 'serial' killer with a fixation about a victim type or a drive to assert himself. He's just a guy, going about his business. The murders, the crimes are shocking because they occur in such a natural setting - the killing is unheralded, unanticipated.
"I usually start the month with a postman!" Even killer's have their routines. Benoit explains his theories about robbery and murder, provides a masterclass in the disposal of bodies, expresses his concerns about the murder of children (it attracts too much media attention), and recounts his theories about why old people are better bets for robbery than the middle classes.
It is a film of quite shocking, deliberately disturbing violence, not least in the casual nature of the rape scene. Shot in naturalistic manner - black and white, hand held camera, exactly as if three young film makers are keeping a documentary diary of the crimes and lifestyle of a criminal.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 5 Dec 2007
Format: DVD
A sort of serial killing This Is Spinal Tap without the jokes, as a satire Remy Belvaux, Andre Bonzel and Benoit Poelvoorde's Man Bites Dog just isn't very funny. The film is more a stylistic exercise and intellectual essay on cinema's relationship with violence, and as such is open to endless debate and reinterpretation.

The film follows the exploits of the smug, self-satisfied Benoit Poelvoorde as he goes about his daily work - murder for pleasure and profit - with a low-budget black and white documentary film crew in tow. The crew become seduced by the violence they 'document', carrying on with an interview while holding down a child for him to kill and participating in and instigating a gang rape. They are untouched by the horror of his actions until it directly affects them, most particularly in a sort of running joke in which their soundmen keep getting killed.

This complicity between filmmakers and life-takers is compounded by the fact that the film's killer and camera crew all use their real names on screen. There is certainly an inherent element of criticism of the artist's acceptance of violence as a form of self-expression - not only the film crew but a female musician Poelvoorde knows accept his actions as just being 'his work.'

The violence is shocking, as it should be, more for this casual acceptance (although the most genuinely disturbing moment is the fraction of a second when Poelvoorde's laughter dies and is immediately replaced by a grim face after the music lesson), but is never openly condemned. Since none of the characters on screen exercise any morality, it is up to the viewer to bring his or her morality to bear on the picture.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Aug 2002
Format: DVD
Duh! For the information of the reviewer who thinks Les Artistes Anonymes are dredging over themes already explored by Tarantino's gaudy flick, Man Bites Dog is the earlier film!!! Natural Born Killers is an embarassingly self-aware, queasy piece of postmodern posturing; Man Bites Dog is all the more disturbing for the naturalness that it never strays from. Although at times it can be very funny (perhaps the specific gravity of Belgian humour is hard to fathom) it is, in my opinion, being mis-sold as a "black comedy". This is a very violent film, and let's stop pussyfooting around with euphemisms about the kinds of violence: it contains a shocking rape scene. People should not be encouraged to see the film without being warned about that.
For my money, this is no spoof: it is absurdist perhaps, but that is a different matter. Austin Powers is a spoof of James Bond films, the relations are easy to identify. How and of what is this a spoof? A small film-crew film a killer (and he is not really a "serial-killer" either) going about his grim work; he regards it as a job. Absurd perhaps. But don't expect a spoof or a black comedy, you'll probably be disappointed.
Like many great twentieth-century works of art it shows a great (if disturbed) sense of humour, but it is also a powerful meditation on the glamorisation and worship of violence, and the complicity of such acts in the crimes that we love to gape at. But no pat observations, and no simple conclusions. The end is ample proof of that. Unlike NBK it is oblique and serious, and all the more capable of being funny because of that.
And can we start a campaign to get it renamed? The nudge-nudge, wink-wink in-joke on new journalism's penchant for reporting the story that sells rather than the one that happens is pretty irrelevant.
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